Claire Dunworth-Warby, a Personal, Business and Education Coach, continues her discussion on how to keep those negative thoughts under better control so that you can make the most of the long summer days ahead…
Negative thoughts have a horrid habit of infiltrating your thinking at the most inconvenient time, scuppering your chances of progress in whatever it is you want to achieve. The betting is that you probably think that one negative thought is very much the same as the next, but this isn’t the case. There’s a good chance that there’s a wide range of different types of negativity that may have become entrenched in your thinking.
The trick is to be able to identify, and then unpick these repetitive mantras that you have learned so perfectly – which isn’t easy. They have been telling you what you can’t achieve (apparently, according to you) for years.
Step 1 – ‘Catch’ that negative thought as it enters your head whatever guise it comes in – what kind of negative thought is it?
Step 2 – Analyse it with care and honesty – taking into consideration all your strengths to try to rationalise and counter it.
Step 3 – Rephrase it in positive terms – keep replacing it every time that nagging negativity recurs, until the positive one is dominant. So you are now giving yourself a positive mantra.
Here are some useful examples of negative thoughts unpicked:
The two extremes: ‘If I don’t succeed at this, I am a complete failure.’ This type of thought is unhelpful as it doesn’t take into account degrees of success, which is much more realistic of life in general – very little succeeds 100%. A more helpful rephrasing would be: ‘I shall be very pleased with myself if I can achieve x by y which will be a step in the right direction.’
The single occurrence: ‘I did this once before and it was a total disaster so I am never doing it again.’ Here, a one-off event or experience is being unfairly characterised and used as a reason never to try again. Realistically, how many of us are brilliant at something the first time we do it? A more helpful rephrasing: ‘Last time x worked well, so I’ll do that again, but I’ll try y as well and see how that goes.’
Reverse cherrypicking: ‘Yesterday was so embarrassing for me when I fluffed my last bit – I won’t be able to face them again.’ This time, one small part is being concentrated on – obsessed about even – without looking holistically at the whole day and all the other things that went well. It is important both to learn from your mistakes to improve future performance and to congratulate yourself on what you did do well. A helpful rephrasing would be: ‘I was pleased with how yesterday went in the main, but I shall practise x more for next time.’
So, get batting away those annoying little invaders – practice makes perfect!
Claire Dunworth-Warby of Aspire Associates Coaching is a Personal, Business and Education Coach working with individuals and organisations one-to-one, over the phone or online and leading workshops across the UK. Training the trainers is also available.
For more information or a free taster session contact her on 01746 218298 or visit www.aspire-coaching.biz